BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - With just over two weeks left in the 2018 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) volleyball season, nine conference teams have winning records in overall play, with seven squads boasting .500 or better winning percentages in league contests. Gustavus and Saint Benedict remain undefeated (6-0) in MIAC play with five Conference games left on the schedule. The Gusties host the Bennies next Saturday, October 20.
Gustavus Adolphus College is ranked No. 11 in the nation this week in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top 25. St. Thomas received votes in the latest poll.
The next AVCA Poll is due to be released on October 16.
Saint Benedict sophomore Madison Weiss (Shakopee, Minn.) continues to lead Division III with an average of 1.53 blocks per set this season. Bethel's Karin Canakes (Rochester, Minn. | Century) ranks fifth in the country with an average of 1.29.
St. Olaf setter Lexi Wall (Chanhassen, Minn.) sits at No. 2 in D-III with an average of 11.22 assists per set in 2018. Wall's 66-assist performance against Wis.-Superior over the weekend is the most by any Division III player in a five-set match this season.
AROUND THE MIAC
Four different Auggies had double-digit kills in the team's five-set loss to Wis.-Stout last Saturday. First-year middle blocker Jade Boysen (Rochester, Minn. | Mayo) set new career-highs with 11 kills and 10 block assists in the match, becoming the only Augsburg player to record a kill-block double-double this season.
Bethel first-year Hannah Wilhite (Louisville, Ky. | Christian Academy) registered her sixth career double-double with a 32-assist, 11-dig effort against Saint Benedict last Friday. Wilhite leads all MIAC first-years with an average of 9.44 assists per set in 2018.
Carleton outside hitter Abby Loe (Apple Valley, Minn.) leads all MIAC competitors with an average of 0.55 service aces per set this season. Loe posted three aces in the Knights' five-set loss to Saint Mary's last Friday.
Concordia sophomore Casey Coste (West Fargo, N.D. | Sheyenne) recorded a career-high 28 digs in a four-set win at Hamline last Thursday. Coste now has a team-high 236 digs on the year and 389 for her career.
Gustavus outside hitter Lauren Hanson (Redwood Falls, Minn. | Redwood Valley) averaged 3.24 kills per set along with a .303 hitting percentage as Gustavus went 4-0 throughout the week to improve its winning streak to 10 matches. Hanson posted double-digit kills in all three matches at the UW-Whitewater tournament, highlighted by an 18-kill performance in a five-set victory over No. 23-ranked UW-Whitewater on its home court.
Hamline sophomore Megan Rubbelke (North St. Paul, Minn. | North) posted three straight double-doubles last week to help the Pipers surpass their 2017 win total. Rubbelke's 45 assists against Concordia represents a season-high, while her 173 digs on the year now lead the team.
Macalester setter Emily Bowler (South Salem, N.Y. | John Jay) contributed 18 assists, four kills, and seven digs in a three-set loss at St. Catherine last Saturday, a day after logging a 43-assist, 14-dig double-double in a win versus Finlandia.
Saint Benedict defensive specialist Haley Lavalle (Oakdale, Minn. | Hill-Murray) had a career night to help Saint Benedict sweep Bethel and improve to 6-0 in the MIAC for the first time since 2008. The junior defensive specialist started the week with 10 digs in a sweep of Carleton and wrapped up with a career-high 34 digs in a three-set thriller against the Royals.
St. Catherine junior Emma Nelson (Byron, Minn.) picked up a 14-kill, 24-dig double-double in a five-set win at Wis.-Superior last Wednesday. Nelson averaged 3.25 kills per set and 3.50 digs per set in three matches last week.
Saint Mary's setter Lillian Braun (Mantorville, Minn. | Kasson-Mantorville) dished out 42 assists in the Cardinals' 3-2 win over Carleton last Friday. It was the sixth time this season the junior has collected 40 or more assists in a match.
St. Olaf outside hitter Summer Reid (Spokane, Wash. | Joel E. Ferris) totaled 42 kills and hit .282 on the outside in three matches last week. The sophomore posted a season-high 18 kills while hitting .350 and added 19 digs in a five-set win over Wis.-Superior on Saturday. Later in the day, she posted 16 kills in a five-set victory over Bethany Lutheran.
First-year outside hitter Fran Egan (Minneapolis, Minn. | Washburn) gave St. Thomas a spark in a 4-1 week for the Tommies. She hit .325 and contributed 13 kills in a MIAC win over Augsburg and was named to the All-Tournament team at Wis.-Whitewater. UST has won eight of its last nine matches and Egan is averaging 11 kills per match during that span.